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Renovations At Shippan Home Before The Fire

Renovations in 2267 Shippan Ave., coupled with the recent revelation that the home lacked a smoke detection system may have played a role in the Christmas morning tragedy.

Much of the several days ago has been focused on the nature of the repairs and renovations that the house was undergoing as of Dec. 25, 2011.

"The entire second floor was being renovated... the house was under construction," Stamford Director of Operations Ernie Orgera said at a recent . Orgera stated that under local law, the second floor could not be occupied during its renovation phase until it received a certificate of approval, which it did not have at the time of the fire.

"What happens when you undertake a renovation in the city of Stamford is you submit plans, and as work progresses, inspections are made periodically. At the end of those inspections, you call in for a final inspection, and if everything meets the Connecticut Building and Safety Code, you'll get approval to move in," Mayor Michael Pavia announced on Tuesday.

Neither Pavia nor fire investigators are certain if the mansion had a smoke detection system when they moved in a year ago, and even if the home did not, it would have been legal for its occupants to move in.

"They bought an existing home...there is no requirement for smoke detectors to be installed," Mayor Pavia said.

All renovation work on the home was being done by Badger's boyfriend Michael Borcina, 52, president of Tiberias Construction Inc., and according to Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte, was responsible for discarding the embers, which started the fire.

While fire investigators are uncertain if any occupants were living on the second floor while it was being renovated, the home  is reported to have been built with balloon construction that of the fire. Also, Michael Borcina was not registered as a building contractor in CT as of Dec. 25, according to a report by CBS News:

"The Department of Consumer Protection said its records show neither Borcina nor his company, Tiberias Construction Inc., are currently registered to perform home improvement work in Connecticut. Registration is required by state law and provides certain contractual rights to the consumer, according to the department."

In other media outlets, Michael Borcina stated that he is trying to remain positive throughout this week's ordeal, and has spoken to Badger since the fire.

"As far as we're concerned, the renovation, the rough inspections were up to date, and there were no violations," Orgera told Patch, and stated that the Shippan Ave. home had been inspected in July 2011. "All inspections passed."

References to Tiberias Construction Inc.'s work in New York is listed on the company's website:

“Mike has done a lot of work on my Park Avenue apartment, he has incredible precision is extremely creative and takes his work very seriously. I can’t imagine hiring anybody else to do work for me.”

The house at 2267 Shippan Ave. had not yet received its final inspection, Orgera told the press on Tuesday.

Mary December 30, 2011 at 01:33 PM
How could the Patch be so irresponsible to ask such a poll question?? Every fire is preventable.... How is knowing that going to help in this situation or help this family? This was a tragic, tragic accident. We can all say they "should have or could have" but that is not helpful. --- I imagine they are all feeling guilty enough. Why on earth would you want to point out the mistakes that they already know and will have to live with for the rest of their lives? It's cruel.... So very, very cruel. :(
Jamal Powell December 30, 2011 at 02:05 PM
The poll question has been removed. It is not our intent to offend anyone, or seem insensitive to this terrible thing that happened last Sunday.
Samantha B. December 30, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Based on the above information---not only did Michael Borcina act in such a careless manner to put embers in a bag in or near the house which caused the fire and caused the death of 5 people, but he also had no license to work in the State of CT as a contractor. In addition, as a contractor he should have known better to not let people live or sleep on the second floor. Whether it was due to being careless or in fact done on purpose (that is yet to be determined) the result is the same. 5 people died. And that is what is cruel. He should feel guilty for what he has done. Shaming someone is not a bad thing.
Mary December 30, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Samantha b.... I guess you've never made a horrible mistake that you regret? Good for you. You are very lucky. I, for one, make mistakes all the time. I've just been blessed that they've never led to a tragedy. The bottom line is this kind of tradgedy could happen to any one of us.... At any time. Count your blessings and try and feel some empathy for these poor people. Btw, there is no evidence that anyone was on the 2nd floor..... I can guarantee Michael did not intend for anything to happen. It was a careless mistake that any one of us could have made. He knows what he did wrong.... He has to live with that for the rest of his life. I'm so glad that it makes you feel better to point out the obvious to him.....
Samantha B. December 30, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Mary---would you say that if this had been a doctor who had done something wrong to a patient? Would you consider that a mistake? I don't think so. What about someone who is speeding because he or she is in a rush to get somewhere and ends up killing 5 people--would you consider that a mistake? There are consequences for our decisions and our actions. How can you guarantee anything about another person? We only know ourselves. A man and a contractor should have known better. Simple. And his carelessness cost the lives of 5 people. Yes, he gets to live and 3 children lost their lives because of him. The only empathy I feel is for the father of these three children. He lost his children because one man was not only careless but indifferent to the laws in CT regarding being licensed etc...
Mary December 30, 2011 at 07:44 PM
How sad to live with no forgiveness in your heart. And yes, I accept that drs make mistakes and people drive too fast and make mistakes. We all make mistakes.... It's called being human.
Samantha B. December 30, 2011 at 09:28 PM
and when those so called mistakes are made and they end in the death of others---it's called paying for your mistakes--either criminally or civilly in a court of law. Otherwise, let's all get drunk tonight, drive, and run down a bunch of people and pay no consequence for our 'mistake'. Let the doctor who committed some form of malpractice because of his/her carelessness and cost the life of the patient continue on with no ramifications. A mistake is doing something that you are not aware can cause harm to yourself or to others. A mistake would be for example, driving within the speed limit but hitting a pedestrian at night because you did not see him/her. That is a mistake. A mistake is not ''gee, I am a man in construction who knows things about houses, fireplaces etc....it's 3am, I think i will shovel those hot embers in the fireplace and place them in a bag in or near the house under construction which I have no license in the State of CT to do any construction work" That's not a mistake---that is pure reckless, careless behavior which has consequences.
Bella December 30, 2011 at 09:33 PM
agree with Samantha. Well said.
EMR December 30, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Stamford's finest are now involved. The fact that the City of Stamford demolished the building and declared Borcina's innocence within 24 hours is bizarre. Something stinks in Stamford and the police will find out.
Samantha B. December 30, 2011 at 09:54 PM
the demolition of the house, I can understand. The houses in Shippan for the most part are very close together. Had this happened in North Stamford, then yes, there would be no reason to demolish the house since houses are between 1 to 5 acres apart from each other. The fire dept. cannot declare anyone innocent or guilty. That will be up to the police, the insurance company which you know will do their own investigation---and yes, I truly believe the entire story has many unanswered questions. People have done crazy things either due to financial strain and they don't expect the worse to happen. It's all very sad. I can only imagine how that father must be feeling. Losing all of his children at the hands of a man who should have known better.
Bella December 30, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Yeah, and Borcina is so distraught that he is on Facebook adding people to his page and chatting away. Something stinks indeed.
AEN December 31, 2011 at 01:17 AM
What difference does it make if he had a license to renovate in CT? And what difference does it make if the 2nd floor was occupied? The children who died were sleeping on the 3rd floor and the fire was caused by irresponsibility with fireplace embers. All the construction issues are irrelevant.
NVA December 31, 2011 at 01:25 AM
Hey Bella, those friends he added could be added any time between now and Sept. 28 which was his last post on facebook. If you look at the friends he add recent activity you will see they added Borcina almost a month ago. Borcina has had no activity on facebook for some time now, so please crawl back into you basement and stop spreading lies.
Bella December 31, 2011 at 03:22 PM
You are wrong NVA. Borcina has two facebook accounts. And on one of them he was on just the other day. Please crawl out of your basement and learn to use a computer. The modern world is simply wonderful.
Bella December 31, 2011 at 03:23 PM
AEN, There is still no proof that the children were sleeping on the third floor. I agree with Samantha. Borcina not having a license to renovate in CT and yet goes ahead and does the work indicates a lack of respect for the safety of those people. Him choosing to not obtain a license is proof yet again about how reckless this man is. And if the second floor was occupied, then that is another reckless pattern by Borcina. Since they had no certificate, they were not permitted to occupy the second floor. Another thing that Borcina should have clearly known.
Jacqueline December 31, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Oh and Bella instead stalking people's FB pages, try doing something productive with your life. Read a book, go for a walk....
Bella December 31, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Yes, I have sped. And IF my speeding had killed 5 people I would have been arrested on numerous charges. AS YOU WOULD BE AND ANYONE ELSE HERE. There are consequences for our actions Justin. That's why we should all think before being reckless.
Mia January 01, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The jury is not out yet. We still do not have all the facts. People who live in a glass houses should not throw stones. The last I read is Borcina placed the embers just outside the house in a paper bag. It was around 3:oo am. It was a careless horrible, horrible accident unless someone is trying to say it was deliberate. If it were deliberate no officials have come forward with that statement as of yet. Whether Borcina or Badger should be held responsible no officials have said anything about that as of yet. I am sure that if it were an accident Borcina and the Badger are suffering very much and will be for a long time. It must be a living hell for both of them. It was negligence but I do not believe as of right now any one can say it was just more than that and it is very sad that it had to happen. Most fires are because of negligence and are considered accidents.
Samantha B. January 01, 2012 at 06:57 PM
An accident is an accident and negligence is not an accident. What Borcina did was not an accident. It was negligence if it was not intentional. If this was truly an accident, like for example, the housekeeper in NC last year who did something similar and burned a large portion of the house while the owner was in Vermont--that is accidental. She truly did not know better. But Borcina is a 53 year old man. He is a contractor. He knows better. And under a court of law what he did based on who he is, it would not be difficult to judge this as negligence vs accidental.
Mary January 02, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Samantha.... Why don't you let the officials decide what happenec. You've already decided this poor man is guilty. Unless you were there, or you are an investigator, you don't know the full story.... before you continue to make accusations, why don't you pipe down and let the police do their job.
Samantha B. January 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Mary, you said, " I can guarantee Michael did not intend for anything to happen. It was a careless mistake that any one of us could have made." Why don't you let the officials decide if he intended or not intended for anything to happen. You've already decided Borcina is innocent. Before you continue to say that it was a careless mistake that could happen to any one of us---let me assure you that I have yet to meet a contractor or a homeowner that would have placed hot embers into a bag in or near a house at 3AM.
Mary January 02, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I believe in innocent until proven guilty.
Samantha B. January 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
it gets worse--now the Madonna Badger goes to the burned house yesterday and she and Borcina claim that the girls wanted the embers removed from the fireplace because of Santa---so let's see--it's 3am, according to the original story the girls and grandparents are sleeping but to save Santa Borcina places hot embers in a bag in the house ..yeah okay. also, what kid thinks of embers at 7 or 10 years old? and what parent listens to his/her child when they say things like that? Not buying it.
June Rowton January 04, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Samantha, this is something my kids would totally worry about--embers and Santa won't be able to get in safely. However... not at 3 a.m., and despite my children's worries, I would not dispose of even a match in a bag without thoroughly drenching it--but I also wouldn't dispose of ashes at 3 a.m. anyway. The fireplace, with a solid fire guard around it, seems like the safest place for embers.
Cherry January 12, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Samantha, I agree with you. It scares me to think that this horrible tragedy is going to be considered an "oops". My husband and I have had a wood stove for almost 40 years, and we have never dumped the embers in a bag and put them in or near the house. It's common sense.
Cherry January 13, 2012 at 02:52 AM
AEN: I kind of agree with you. A license doesn't make someone smart, honest, careful, or even competent. Bella: It's a matter of public record that Mrs. Badger told the firemen her kids were on the third floor.
Cherry January 13, 2012 at 02:53 AM
I totally agree.

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